20 April 2022

In 2015, Anna Ekström was chair of the board of Linköping University, which made the decision to build Studenthuset. She is now minister of education, and is impressed by the large building on Campus Valla: “Magnificent! The drawings were cool, but seeing it in real life it was much cooler.”

Minister of Education Anna Ekström visited Campus Valla and was impressed byStudenthuset. In 2015, when head of the board of Linköping University, she gave the greenlight for its construction. Anna Nilsen
Anna Ekström was chair of the board of Linköping University from 2013 to September 2016, when she resigned in order to take the position of Minister for Upper Secondary School, Adult Education and Training. During that period, the decision was taken on the 16,000 square metre building, which was completed in 2019.

The students a driving force

Today, Anna Ekström is minister for education. After a tour of the new building, she was impressed:

“The building is beautiful; it looks much larger at a distance than what I thought it would. But when I walked around the interior, it seemed smaller. It has a cosy feel; I understand that the students like it.” Photo credit Anna Nilsen

She recalls the very good collaboration between all the parties involved in the process:

“The students were a strong driving force, and I’m really proud of the result. Linköping University has always had very forward-looking students and student unions, that push the university forward, which is evident in this building.”

What is special about Studenthuset?

“That it’s a building where the students are prioritised. The reason for having a university is because there are students who need an education. Linköping is one of just a few places in Sweden where the main building of the university is built based on the needs of the students, not those of the administration, researchers or teachers. Which I think is excellent.”

Spoke with the student unions

Before the tour of the new building, Anna Ekström spoke with the heads of LiU’s three student unions. During this relatively short chat, the student unions mentioned a few matters the students wanted to convey to the minister; many points concerned the aftermath of the pandemic.

Linus Ohlsson, chair of the student union Consensus:

“We have some debts to resolve in the future, and we talked about the difficult social situation of many students during the pandemic. We also discussed that many students who have been sick and missed final exams are now worried that this will affect their student funding. There haven’t been any such problems yet, but if we get reports that students have to repay their funding, we will get in touch with the minister.”

Unique research environment

Anna Ekström started her afternoon at Campus Valla with a visit to the Division of Education and Adult Learning at the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning (IBL).

“We discussed how to ensure that adult education is conducted with high quality, using the instruments currently in place, and of course how to boost interest in vocational training and vocational teacher training. I heard several suggestions about how to better adapt vocational training to the background of the students. The division has a unique research environment and I got to meet a doctoral student at the graduate school that I took the initiative to, which was very rewarding”, says Anna Ekström.

The minister of education concluded her visit to LiU by speaking with university management about topics including digitalisation and infrastructure.

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